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The WashingtonWatch.com Blog’s 2010 in Review

With an eventful year drawing to a close, we thought we’d look back on 2010 in the WashingtonWatch.com blog. Many things happened in the world of public policy and politics. We focused on some of them… Our first post of 2010 dealt with one of the nation’s most pressing issues: the Tiger Woods scandal. The […]

No, Senator Durbin, Earmarks are Not Transparent

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) doesn’t seem to know what transparency is. This morning the full Senate voted down a proposed rule that would have barred earmarks for the next two years. Part of the reason? Earmarks are transparent. Here’s Senator Durbin, quoted in a Hill article: “There is full disclosure in my office of every […]

Earmarks — Will Senate Republicans Swear Them Off or Not?

[Update: Senate Republicans likely to forswear earmarks.] Next Tuesday (11/16), the Senate Republican Conference will meet to organize themselves for the new Congress, which starts in January. Among the issues on the table: whether they will continue to seek earmarks. As Politico reports: Last March, two dozen Senate Republicans joined South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint […]

The Sunlight Foundation’s Transparency Proposals for the 112th Congress

. . . include earmark transparency—something we’d very much like to see. From Sunlight’s catalog of transparency proposals: Earmark information should be posted online in a centralized database. This includes earmarks, earmark requests and related documentation. Leadership policies in both chambers have moved in this direction in the last few years, and President Obama called […]

Congress Moves Closer to Producing Earmark Data

A Senate committee has advanced a bill to require Congress to disclose earmarks. As GovExec.com recently reported, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved S. 3335, the Earmark Transparency Act, by a vote of 11-5. We wrote up the bill when it was introduced. And in our hugely successful earmarks contest last year, […]

Earmark Transparency Excellence

Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) has done a notably good job of making her earmark requests available for public review. Last year, the House and Senate appropriations committees began requiring that earmark requests be put online, giving the public a chance to see what special projects our representatives were seeking funding for. At some effort, we […]

Federal Spending Transparency: Unlocking the Power of Abstraction

I’ll present a short paper and lead some discussion on federal spending transparency tomorrow at an OMB Watch conference entitled “Strengthening Federal Spending Transparency: A Working Conference to Develop a Plan of Action.” My paper is called “Federal Spending Transparency: Unlocking the Power of Abstraction.” It builds on lessons I learned from developing the Earmarkdata.org […]

Congress to Produce Earmark Data?

A bill introduced in the Senate yesterday would require Congress to bring earmarks out of the shadows, producing earmark data in a format that the public can easily use. S. 3335 would require Congress to establish a “unified and searchable database on a public website for congressional earmarks.” This is something President Obama called for […]

Earmark Requests Going Online—But in the Wrong Formats

As required by rules instituted last year, members of Congress are posting their earmark requests online. And in a small improvement over past practice, the House Appropriations Committee  is posting links to all those pages (in alphabetical order and by state). The Senate Appropriations Committee is doing the same. So, great. You can go […]

Just Give Us the Earmark Data! (How You Can Help)

Earmarks represent the worst of Washington, D.C. to many people. Washington acts as a “favor factory” when campaign contributions and lobbying pitches go in and taxpayers’ cash comes out. Well, we’re doing something about it. And you can help. In our hugely successful earmark hunting contest last summer, we asked you, the public, to help […]